Tag: Nature’s Teachings

Cottontails, Cardinals and a Cottonmouth

Cottontails, Cardinals and a Cottonmouth

IMG_4299The air was heavy with thick fog hovering over the marsh. Spider webs glowed silver in the pre-dawn light, shining with water droplets. Cottontails were foraging for breakfast and would hop away as I passed. Cycling at dawn is the best.

IMG_4286Through live oak forests, sandy pine forests and marshlands I pedaled into the day. The orange orb of fire hung momentarily over the marsh before gaining altitude in its daily climb……..actually it’s the earth moving isn’t it? (Pause to contemplate). If I think too much about the fact that the earth is spinning on its “axis” the idea of my spinning wheels and feet spinning on the pedals makes too much spinning in my brain. So…the earth seemed to pause before continuing in its rotation giving the impression that the sun had paused. (I think the sun rising is more fun).

Anyway….it was pretty awesome being there and not thinking about what was rotating where.

IMG_4302Cardinals were in abundance peeping from the shelter of small trees along the trail and darting in front of me. Their brilliant flashes of red added sparks of color to the mostly gray light of the foggy morning.

IMG_4294A juvenile cottontail hopped straight up as I pedaled past. A loud, unrestrained laugh echoed from my depths. Several small cottontails breakfasted along the trail and each one received a greeting though not a belly laugh.

The iPod was on shuffle so each change of song was a surprise. As I began the steady climb back to the main road, Prince’s song, Let’s Go Crazy, began to play. It was a great song to help me dig in and push myself as the coastal hill tried to halt my momentum. “Let’s go crazy, let’s go nuts.” Of course I was singing along and pushed replay. On the second time through, as the hill got steeper and my voice got louder….I saw a snake.

IMG_4303Feet clipped in, couldn’t tell what kind due to lack of light, going too fast to stop anyway….”LET’S GO CRAZY….LET’S GO NUTS!!” shouting as I sped by a nice-sized cottonmouth. “WOO HOO! Good MORNING!!” She stayed on her side of the trail, I stayed on mine.

As I rode with the multitudes of cottontails and cardinals, I thought of writing about the ride and wanted a third “C” to use in a blog title. No cougar, no Cat Man,* no cormorant…no “C” anything until Ms. Cottonmouth appeared. Perhaps I shall be a little more discerning in my wishes next time. The moral of the story? Be careful what you wish for….or be specific in your dreams.


IMG_4296*The legend of the Cat Man goes back to when my mother grew up on the island of Gulf Shores. A road (now part of the trail) was called Cat Man Road because of its isolation, wildness and a guy that used to sneak up on couples parking on the roadway at night to enjoy stargazing….um…well, you know.


The New Normal

The New Normal

_TSL2010How do major awakenings, experiences of cosmic consciousness and expansion translate to every day life? This has been my burning question since the last humpback whale week.

It happens when we have meaningful experiences that change our lives. It might be something big like humpback whales floating 15 feet from us or something as simple as seeing a mother bird care for her young. Something out of the ordinary changes us.

SimoneLipscomb (8)Often the positive change or spark of awakening is difficult to integrate into daily life. We still have to clean the cat box, put fuel in the car, decide what to have for dinner when we’d rather stay in that space of bliss and cosmic Oneness. Of course. Who wouldn’t?

For decades I’ve tried to figure out how to integrate peak experiences into my life. The last week with humpbacks was so profound that my quest to gain wisdom on the integration process accelerated.

Last week major moments of awareness came (In the End…It’s Love) and today, during and hours after Augusta’s yoga class, integration came.

Cosmic Whale-2
Last week the image of a vast cosmos within emerged from the work I was doing to keep my heart open. It was as if a the Universe was within me–stars and planets and space.  Today that vision returned and it reminded me of the night sky over the ocean with silver whale breath illuminated by the moon. It was as if I was becoming the vastness, becoming the cosmos. I felt the magnitude of that week opening to the present moment. The thread that connected the peak experience with the every day one was staying open to love, keeping my heart open.

_TSL4572The mind revolts when we really focus on opening the heart. Fears, objections, warnings arise. But if by some touch of grace we can keep the intention of opening the heart as our goal and just keep practicing without collapsing into fear, we will eventually burn away the dross and be left with the pure gold of a healed, open, loving heart. This sacred alchemy not only transforms our lives, it transforms the world around us.

_TSL3955Peak experiences can become the new normal. An open heart can open our lives in ways we never dared dream.



Sweet is the Light

Sweet is the Light

_TSL3846On this Mother’s Day I am especially grateful to loggerhead sea turtle mothers who give me incentive to awaken before dawn, drive to the beach and walk along the Gulf just before, during and after sunrise. It gives me opportunities to photograph pure, rich color.

_TSL3886There are a very few moments in which to capture the richest, most precious light. Between the pre-dawn gray and post-dawn white there is a sweetness where color bursts forth from the water, earth and sky and everything the sacred sunrise kisses. The muted, soft pastels are transformed momentarily into rich colors of incredible depth. Then the harshness of daylight washes them into a faded expression of what they once were reminding me of the impermanence of life.

_TSL3929Ambitious architects from the day before provided a perfect surface for the perfect light to illuminate and I arrived at their castle at the perfect moment, when the light was at its richest. Some times things work out exactly as you would hope.

_TSL3925There were no sea turtle tracks on the section of beach I patrol but that’s only part of the reason I volunteer. I go for the sunrise because sweet is the light.



Whale Time

Whale Time

_TSL1859As I floated weightless with humpback whales below, I had never felt more present. Extended quiet moments floating in the peaceful sea offered an expansion of time as my mind opened to their minds.

I am forever changed, my DNA rewired into something different than before I entered whale time.

_TSL2010Gratitude expanded within my heart and I knew in those moments the true meaning of receiving…the gift…of the present.